07 October 2010

Kentucky: Where Education Doesn't Pay the Unemployed

Back in 2002, Governor Paul Patton declared that in Kentucky, "Education Pays."  It led to the nifty graphic you see to the right, and not much more.  I won't regale you with horror stories about the Kentucky education system; you likely already know we're in the 40s on a lot of ranked lists comparing states, and that we have been for ages.  And I won't bash the system partly because it's way too complex to go into here and it's not the actual focus of this piece, and partly because several of my closest friends are teachers and I don't wish to incur their wrath.  (I can spell just fine, but I still need help with math from time to time, you know.)

Anyway, Gov. Patton was quoted as saying, "Unless people understand that an education is the way to get a good job and provide for a good quality of life, they won't take advantage of these opportunities [referring to programs like the GED and such]."  It's generic, but it sounds about right.  Education should lead to a better quality of life.  You should hone skills of reason and critical thinking; concepts that (unlike trigonometry) we all need to employ throughout every day of our lives.  More practically speaking, an education is supposed to make you more desirable as an employee.  (We all know about people being rejected for jobs as "overqualified," but again, this is not the scope of my writing today.)

What has come to my attention today is that Kentuckians who apply for unemployment benefits can be disqualified from receiving those benefits if "You are attending school (without prior approval of the Office of Employment and Training)."  It's on page 7 of Your Rights and Responsibilities While Claiming Unemployment Insurance Benefits.  Go ahead and look; I'll wait.

Think about this for a moment.  You're applying for unemployment benefits.  Does that suggest that things are going swimmingly for you?  Who bases his or her enrollment in school around the expectation of becoming abruptly unemployed?  No wonder Kentucky rates so poorly in both education and employment: our government actively discourages Kentuckians from trying to do the right thing for themselves.

1 comment:

  1. Well, that is just wonderful! I am guessing that furthering one's education puts their jobs in jeopardy. ;)